Owning Your Truth, Part II

I have been steadily molting into truer versions of myself (for the most part) for the past seven years, and it started with my health and wellness social marketing business. I started on the self-development path because my mentor and coach advised me to, and I being the eager student, followed exactly what she told me to do and read. I consistently and steadily grew in my business and in my personal growth. For me, one of the most important moments of reflection was when people I had known for years, said (verbatim) “who are you, and what have you done with Alexis?” Before I started this often painful path of self-discovery, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye for more than a few seconds, and my head was constantly down when I entered a room. My goal in life until about six years ago was to be invisible in this world due to my perceived lack of self-worth. Breaking the perception of self-worth in my head was both uncomfortably painful, and even more incredibly rewarding and worth it every ounce of uncomfortableness to achieve. I am more “me” than I ever have been. And it’s been a hell of a journey. It’s a journey I choose to be never-ending because that is when one starts dying from the inside out. I know because when I stopped, that is exactly what happened. I was shrinking back into mediocrity because I felt I wasn’t equipped to deal with the issues in my life at the moment.

So as of today this is what my growth game looks like: my business is growing faster in the past three months than in the past two years; I am out and proud baby; I was in a relationship, and I feel comfortable in my own skin. I am actively putting my many talents and gifts back for the world to see and experience. If I am being completely honest, for most of the past two years I haven’t been allowing myself to be that vulnerable with my talents. I shrunk back into being trying to be invisible, but that wasn’t working either because I knew what it was like to be seen. My integrity was incongruous at best. I am purposefully seeking ways to bring my light into the world. I didn’t realize how much I had let it go out until now.

If you have struggled like I have with identity, self-worth; justifying your own bullshit story of mediocrity; validating yourself to your “peers”; trying to hide your emotions because to not do so hurts too much; the fallacy of being perfect (sorry not sorry), or trying to maintain an image that is not true to you- I am giving you permission to let all of it go. For those of you who don’t understand what I am referring to, that is AWESOME. I am both ecstatic for you and jealous. Because I thought needed permission to not be perfect. I thought I needed to wear a certain cape (e.g. persona) in order to belong. I thought I needed to be stoic because that meant being brave, courageous, and impenetrable to hurt. I thought I needed a certain job title and career to be accepted. ALL of it is bullshit if it does not serve you. And none of it serves you.

acceptance invisible

If I am being honest, I didn’t have much of an active personal growth game for almost two years. In my subconscious mind, my issues were too great. I didn’t know where to start, and I honestly didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until I started therapy. I was hiding. Again. And it was a shitty feeling to start to revert back to being invisible. I went back to being meek, apologizing, self-conscious, and my lack of self-confidence was back in full force. It started with a series of small decisions of not to do. My daily routine of gratitude, affirmations, and personal growth books became less routine, and then non-existent. I started listen to more audio trainings, which as a visual learner is not a good move of efficiency. It was a subconscious; “I don’t want to deal with any of these things right now in a deep way. So I’ll do superficial personal growth.”   There is a book called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which is basically about making the decision to do the little things that are easy to do and not do. Both add up to big changes consistently over time. It is up to you whether they are positive or negative big changes. In my case, they were negative.

There were some attributing factors to why these things happened, but I allowed them to dictate my life instead of acknowledging their presence and figuring out what to do about it. Whether you know it or not, everything you do is an active choice. Most of the time the choice is determined by one’s threshold for how uncomfortable their lives become. I actively made a change in my behavior because the life I was living had become really uncomfortable, and that is not meant in the working through my shit kind of growth that will cause your life to get better at the end. This was the kind of uncomfortable where I wondered how the frak I got there, and how to climb out of the fire swamp that had become my life.

I am comfortable doing things today that I never thought I’d be comfortable doing. I have never been comfortable in my own skin, and had rebelled against finding out why until about seven years ago. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin unless it was canoeing or out in nature by myself.   Those were my churches. Those were the two communities I found myself accepted no matter how socially awkward I could be, and in those two communities became my refuge, they were my safe place to recharge and where I felt home. I used to say that I am a fundamentally different person than I was seven years ago. I don’t say that anymore. I say that I am the truest version of myself that I have ever been, and I will continue to evolve into being my best self.

come into your own

I feel comfortable enough to own my sexuality to be proud enough of it to be in a relationship, and believe I am worth of it. And unabashedly shout during Philly’s Pride Parade on behalf of my cousin’s church, “you are queer? We are here!” Did I ever think in my entire life I would feel comfortable marching in a parade at all? No. Let alone shouting for a mile with pride about my sexuality (a vulnerability that I used to hide behind), high fiving, and handing out a hundred stickers without feeling self-conscious at all? To have the courage to bond with complete strangers in a city I don’t know because we are really all there for the same reason? Hell no. But I grew to get there. I grew to be the person I am today. And I will grow to be person I am meant to be tomorrow. The growth doesn’t stop. It just evolves to destroy the next barrier inside yourself so you can become the truest version of you ever.

In my experience, the best and worst part of growth is you find out who your real friends are. Some people might not recognize and accept the new you, and fight against it. They might even try to tear the “new” you down with sometimes seemingly innocuous comments that sometimes hurt beyond measure. It is okay to feel that hurt, but don’t let it linger. I like to think of it like a paper cut. It hurts like a bitch when it happens, but is gone relatively quickly and forgotten. The fault is on them, not you. They are fighting against themselves because they are reminded what they could be, but chose not to fight for. Show them what you fought for. Even better, show yourself what you fought for. That is another thing the past few years have taught me. Proving others wrong is a great short-term motivator. Proving yourself right? That is when the magic happens, and when you start to discount the lies you have told yourself your whole life.

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Freedom

The word freedom is a rather loaded word. It means something different to everyone. My freedom is paddling whenever I want, being able to give whatever I want without it destroying my bank account, and being present when one of my family and friends wants me to be there no matter what.   And travel. There will be lots of travel. To me, you can’t put a price on any of those items.

This is a pic of my crazy cousins, and their significant others, kids, etc at my cousin's wedding. I am so lucky to have them.

This is a pic of my crazy cousins, and their significant others, kids, etc at my cousin’s wedding. I am so lucky to have them.

Your freedom may be different. The key is to be able to actually EXECUTE that freedom.

There is also the third reality. The burnt out and/or overworked mentality. This is by the far the saddest, and in my opinion the hardest to get out. This is where you either work a bazillion hours and get a really great paycheck. Or you are working a bazillion hours just to make ends meet. I have been in the latter of those two. Many of you know this, but for those that don’t, I used to work two different jobs about 60-70 hours a week. In those years I made under $30,000 for BOTH. I got my W-2’s back and said, “Really? That’s it. There’s got to be another way.” It feels like there isn’t though. You become disheartened, depressed, and just resigned to the fact that this is all your life is going to be. You are really just surviving another day, week until the next paycheck. When you breathe a sigh of relief, and said thank the universe it’s payday. You lose your drive, dream, and eventually the ability to hope for something better. You believe that this is how it is going to be from now on. You become resigned to mediocrity.

Except it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you are in this particular mindset, there is a way to find your freedom. My way might be different from your way; however, I can say with conviction as long as you work your lever to freedom, you will get there. The last three years I have had a lot of absolutely amazing things happen, but I have also had some of the worst possibly scenarios come into my life during that time. Here’s the difference between now and seven years ago. I have a choice.   I got the opportunity to spend time with my elderly Nana and go to the hospital for both my Dad and my Uncle when it was necessary. I literally would walk out of my job saying I have to take care of my family now. I am very grateful and very blessed that my “regular” job I get to do that. Family always comes first.

The nicer part was because of my network marketing health and wellness business, my paycheck didn’t suffer to the point where I couldn’t pay my bills. I earned that time. I earned that freedom. It is like anything else, it takes work and sacrifice.

My question is what is your freedom worth?  Think about it.  This is not a hypothetical question.  Take some time and develop it.

Moving On

The worst part of moving on is realizing that you’ve been a jackass for way too long.  I had been clinging in some odd way to my previous life.  It was like I owed my previous life of co-dependence something.  I don’t, and I won’t any longer.

fear pass, regret not

Being vulnerable is a love-hate relationship with me.  This blog is definitely a part of that journey.  I express myself much better in writing than I do at any other form, so this blog is a major source of release and equal scariness.  I can connect with people on a way I rarely feel comfortable doing.  Real, vulnerable, scary, and it’s all me.  When I am with people in public, even most of my friends, they rarely see any of the above.  Unless my guard is down.

This entry is going to be a bunch of free-thought.   If you don’t follow it, that’s okay.  If you don’t like it, equally okay.  I haven’t been writing as much, which is always a red-flag for me. We are all in a battle for dominance in our own heads.  It is our will that determines whether the ego or our true self wins.

The Beginning

My life has been a series of transitions, as I think most people’s are.  For me, I found myself in college.  I didn’t have to be invisible anymore in college.  I agree this is often a theme on my blog, but it’s an important one.  I was actually for the first comfortable with myself and other people.  High school were not the best years of my life, it was full of years of hiding and pretending I was okay.  It was also were I had way better relationships with my teachers than with my peers.

Next transition was home from college.  I was back to being self-conscious and apologizing all the time when I got my first “professional” job.  There are many amazing things that came from that first job, but the best was being fired.  It led to a series of things that brought me to my friend Jenny.  Who introduced me to Arbonne, the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.

The Middle

The transition into entrepreneur was much longer than I thought it should have been.   The amazing thing about being in network marketing and entrepreneur enterprise in general is there is no time table.  I have finally taking control of most of my life, and it’s the best thing I could have ever hoped it to be.  There are more transitions to go, but this one was where I knew I could kick ass and change lives at the same time.

And yet, I still had not yet let go of my co-dependency.  I still lived under a roof that was both freeing and oppressive.  It was weird and it was not a home anymore.  I finally broke that cord in August.

personal style

Adulthood

I didn’t realize I hadn’t moved on from that until this week.  I have my apartment set up with the major things:  bed, kitchen table, kitchen stuff, and internet.  What I don’t have is a way to have people there.  Which would make it permanent.

I don’t think I truly realized what I big step that was until a few days ago.  This is truly my space.  It is no one else’s.  It is scary, amazing, and truly inspiring.  I will be free from the co-dependency when I realize that I am doing this.  That this space is mine.  I created it, decorated it, and am living in it like an adult.

Moving on is painful and necessary.  This is another step into a journey of greatness.  As usual, my head gets in the way of my progress.  It’s not even my head, it’s my ego playing to my insecurities.  We are all in a battle in our own minds for dominance.  It always depends who wins the war, not the battle.  I will win this war at any cost.  Because I deserve better and so does every one else in my life.  It starts and ends with you.

In Love with My Life

I have liked my life for the most part since I graduated high school.  I went to class, graduated, and I truly enjoyed and probably loved my life in college.  After graduation?

I certainly didn’t love my life; I barely had one.  It was working two jobs, 60-70 hours a week, and one job I truly did love, the other was just there to pay the rest of the bills.  One year I got my w-2’s back, and was like, “that’s it? And literally thought, ‘there has to be a better way’.”  I have found that way.  It is a company founded on respect, empowerment, and helping others.  There is no amount of salary worth making you feel like a piece of shit by the end of the day.  NONE.

One of the benefits of realizing one’s worth is that I am truly in love with my life.  There is a difference between liking your life and being in love with it.  Think dating to get a better understanding.  I love everything in it.  I love my friends, my relationships, my business, and  most importantly myself.

I have worked hard to understand, conquer, and retire my old-self, as I call it.  I have reincarnated myself to be more positive, self-confident, present, less passive-aggressive, and immensely grateful person.  Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 2.01.43 PM

I am proud of my journey it took to get me to this point, and I am even more proud of apparently the inspiration in it for people.  There is no greater gift.